Conflict and Health (2020-09-01)

Addressing COVID-19 in humanitarian settings: a call to action

  • Jude Alawa,
  • Nawara Alawa,
  • Adam Coutts,
  • Richard Sullivan,
  • Kaveh Khoshnood,
  • Fouad M. Fouad

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 14, no. 1
pp. 1 – 4


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Abstract Refugees and internally displaced persons in humanitarian settings are particularly susceptible to the spread of infectious illnesses such as COVID-19 due to overcrowding and inadequate access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. Countries facing conflict or humanitarian emergencies often have damaged or fragmented health systems and little to no capacity to test, isolate, and treat COVID-19 cases. Without a plan to address COVID-19 in humanitarian settings, host governments, aid agencies, and international organizations risk prolonging the spread of the virus across borders, threatening global health security, and devastating vulnerable populations. Stakeholders must coordinate a multifaceted response to address COVID-19 in humanitarian settings that incorporates appropriate communication of risks, sets forth resource-stratified guidelines for the use of limited testing, provides resources to treat affected patients, and engages displaced populations.